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    In Other Spaces and Places

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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.
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    Friday
    Jul292011

    Next Up: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

    Book:                   Ready Player One

    Author:                Ernest Cline

    Publisher:           Crown

    ISBN/ASIN:        978-0307887436

    Release Date:    August 16, 2011

    Read an Excerpt

    “At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. 

    Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

    And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.    

    For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. 

    And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

    Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 

    A world at stake.

    A quest for the ultimate prize.

    Are you ready?” (from www.readyplayerone.com)

    Tuesday
    Jul262011

    Fiendishly Reviewed: "Wildefire" by Karsten Knight

    Book:                  Wildefire

    Author:               Karsten Knight

    Publisher:           Simon & Schuster

    ISBN/ASIN:         978-1442421172

    RELEASE DATE:  July 26, 2011

    RATING:               3.85 Stars

    Irreverent, witty, and mock adult, Karsten Knight’s Wildefire is a bit more high school than paranormal, but with a deep underlying plot surrounding its lead Ashline Wilde and the tempestuous relationship with her sister Eve that could be the unraveling of her destiny.

    Sibling rivalry is a major understatement in Wildefire, and more akin to blood feud, as these two sisters collide viciously when one embraces and exploits her power, and the other tries to deny it.

    For Ashline Wilde it would be a gift to be normal. Growing up as an adopted Polynesian to Jewish parents, the difference is enough to set her apart from her school mates. But coupled with the dangerous powers that have surfaced in her older sister Eve (and now she suspects in herself) Ash is concerned that she might be walking down the same dark path.

    With a murder in the sisters’ wake, power denied, and Eve off the grid, Ash tries to start fresh at a prep school on the West Coast-leaving her old life behind. But her past soon comes back to haunt her (as well as Eve). And things get really complicated at the preppy but strange Blackwood Academy when her inner circle is comprised of teens…just like her…but with burgeoning powers they can’t get a handle on and the unmistakable sense that they are all cosmic pawns in a much bigger game.

    Knight’s saucy appeal translates well into the playful and witty banter of his subjects, and Wildefire’s conflict has a very real and dangerous feel to it-one beyond its years for a mature YA novel. One cannot help but note that there are bumps in the weft of Knight’s text, particularly with the conflict (the Cloak) and the situations that the Blackwood troupe face. But for a 400 page YA novel that reads amazingly well, it’s easy to overlook it in light of Knights amazing gift with imagery and his dexterous metaphors. Wildefire at times reads like Skins meets The Vampire Diaries. Racy. Jaded.

    Blackwood Academy absolutely bears no resemblance to Camp Half Blood, but the premise is the same, the moral incarnations of divine beings on earth grappling with their very real and dangerous powers. Each tangles with one another, their enemies, and must confront their futures as well as acknowledging their painful past incarnations.  Knight provides a backstory for all the deities, and each is singularly riveting…the stories of Serena the Siren, Ashline, Ade Saint-Cyr as Shango, Raja as Isis, Lily as Konohana and Rolfe as Baldur are creative and non-traditional. His one enigma, Kokopelli is left for the end…and a harsh surprise to Ash that I’m guessing will inevitably make its way into a sequel.

    Wildefire has an overwhelmingly compelling do or die feel to it-especially when taking into consideration the consequences of Eve’s return and disruption in Ash’s life at Blackwood showing that there can be no end in sight between them that does not involve the destruction of the other. Either way, blood will run and destruction will reign down.  

    I’m looking forward to the sequel because Knight has created quite the cliffhanger with Colt and Ash (and yess….Raja) with the last paragraph digested, one can only wonder as to what Colt’s motives are and how they will play out in Ashline’s future. And…who is really the Trickster?

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Friday
    Jul012011

    Fiendishly Reviewed: "Texas Gothic" by Rosemary Clement-Moore

    Book:                   Texas Gothic

    Author:               Rosemary Clement-Moore

    Publisher:           Delacorte Press

    ISBN/ASIN:       9780385736930

    RATING:               4.5 Stars

    RELEASE DATE:  July 12, 2011

    Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic is a charmingly authentic witches’ tale full of character that will instantly be a favorite amongst the YA paranormal set that appreciates spine-tingling romance, an intriguing mystery and dangerous ghosts all wrapped up in a quirky wrapper. 

    Clement-Moore’s Goodnight clan can at best be described as outlandish and quaint. But what else can you expect from a family full of witches that regularly zap and zing magick like it’s going out of style? It’s that very penchant to easily delve into the outlandish that sets Clement-Moore’s lead Amy Goodnight on edge.

    As the second eldest daughter and niece to Hyacinth Goodnight the local wise woman and kook of Barnett, Llano County, Hill Country, Texas, Amy is fond of pretending that there is nothing magickal about her. In fact damage control is her specialty when dealing with her family. As regarded as the most “responsible” of the family Amy just wants to be well…normal. And the dividing line that she has constructed between her normal world and the Goodnight world has been pretty much intact. Little does she know that it will come crumbling down…

    When Amy and her sister Phin are asked to farm-sit for her Aunt Hy, it all seems very ordinary: feed the livestock, babysit the herbs and plants, corral the dogs (Lila, Sadie, Bear and Pumpkin), keep the goats out of the trees, ignore the outrageously sexy neighbor, keep the ghost of Uncle Burt happy…and when Amy accidentally thrice promises Aunt Hy to take care of the goats (a.k.a. ghosts) she realizes a bit belatedly that she’s invited the nasty little suckers in.

    What Amy and Phin will have to deal with is not your ordinary spectral haunting. It’ll take bit of EVP and EMF sensing, and a plethora of gadgetry (and magick) to pin down the violent spectre rumoured to be the ghost of a monk that has been terrorizing the neighbors-especially the very sexy Ben McColloch whom Amy is bent on ignoring. But how can you ignore such tall handsomeness?

    When they end up running into one another repeatedly (once in her wellies and red cherry patterned lingerie) and with the unearthing of an ancient burial ground on the McColloch ranch, they reluctantly conspire to get to the bottom of the hauntings.  With his skepticism of all things magickal, whispers of a long lost treasure buried in the hills, the ghost of a mad monk terrifying the area, and Amy’s sister running scientifically amok with her Kirlianometer, Clement-Moore dials it up, making Texas Gothic a quirky lick-fire page-turner.

    Doff the gloom and doom, because this posse is startlingly original, and snarky. I could easily see Clement-Moore squeezing at least two more installments from the YA side of house for the Goodnight clan, as well as delivering a delicious adult paranormal about the Goodnight elders-tied in with marketing actual Goodnight Farms product.

    Here let me fill my first order: I’ll take the Goodnight Farms Clear Your Head Shampoo, and the Antibacterial Gel puleeeze and perhaps a bit of that fantastic lavender/bergamot healing ointment…

    Two of my favorite scenes…wait…three scenes are when Ben rescues Amy from the bat cave, and when she attempts to dance with him (which is pretty funny because well…two left feet can’t two-step) and then later when he can’t help but kiss her. No map need be drawn! Clement-Moore excels at her devilishly taunting romantic suspense. Amy and Ben’s first kiss is toe-curling, leg-popping good.

    Love that Amy has “Texas Fight” as her mobile ringtone, a great Scooby gang of supporting characters, and who could forget Stella her Mini Cooper who is as much as part of the story as anyone else in it.

    Loved it! Will read it again! Now let’s get the sequel written please!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat, a borrowed dog and a lucky pig)

    Friday
    Jul012011

    Currently Reading: "This Dark Endeavor" by Kenneth Opel

    Book:                   This Dark Endeavor

    Author:                Kenneth Opel

    Publisher:           Simon & Schuster

    ISBN/ASIN:         9781442403154

    RELEASE DATE:  August 23, 2011

    BOOK BLURB:

    “In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, fifteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

    Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science and love-and how much he is willing to sacrifice. (from the back cover)

    Wednesday
    Jun292011

    Currently Reading: "Texas Gothic" by Rosemary Clement-Moore

    Book:                  Texas Gothic

    Author:               Rosemary Clement-Moore

    Publisher:           Delacorte

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780385736930

    RELEASE DATE:  July 12, 2011

    BOOK BLURB:

    “Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.” (courtesy of Amazon)

    I just started reading Texas Gothic...which is creepy and authentic feeling and the romantic pull between Amy and Ben McCollough is HOTTER than a Texas cactus. The Goodnight clan is as mysterious as they are wack-a-doodle and as Amy and her sister Phin try as they might to housesit the family farm with rebellious goats, three unruly dogs, and dead Uncle Burt they'll try to do so with a bit of dignity and without any trouble cropping up... but a few malevolent spirits are gonna try to change that and make their stay very interesting…  

    ~Miz Fiendishly